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FICTION:
The Clue: By Garima Srivastava


June 2: A shocking headline flashed in New York Herald: Henry Clarke: The Gregarious Cartoonist Commits Suicide. Undercover Cop, Jackson Fernandez Called for Investigation.



The news sent tremors through the entire nation. Henry was immensely loved for his honesty, helpfulness, warmth and liveliness. His cartoons, supporting ‘anti-suicide’ movements, not only earned him huge recognition but also made him a public hero.

Today his sudden death was mourned by all, thousands gathered on streets for his funeral procession raising high slogans; “We want the reason of his suicide.” And this was what the authorities were severely worried about, “Just seven days Fernandez, that’s all we have been assigned to find the reason for his suicide.” Cop David panged.

“Ok David, why do you think Henry committed suicide? I mean Henry was a happy rich man, professionally acclaimed, good father and a loving husband!”

“We found this note in his pocket,” replied Henry.

Jackson, a tall man with golden whiskers, picked the note and read it aloud, “A gift for you,” but it proves nothing!”

“It does… his craziness. According to psychologists and handwriting experts, his suicide note clearly proves that Henry was in a state of acute depression. And the cartoon he has scribbled on backside of note shows his confused mental state.”

“Great! We got the reason for suicide.”

“No Fernandez. Unfortunately we have no clinical attestation to prove it.”

“What?”

“Henry had no history of depression. Even during autopsy, doctors thoroughly studied a section of his brain, and they confirmed that Henry was not running into depression at the time of his suicide!”

“Hmmm!” Jackson gasped thoughtfully. “Something else you can think off?”

“The day Henry chose to die was Peterson’s birthday, his brotherly friend.”

“So?”

“Nothing. Just a small observation.”

“Anyways, I take your leave now.”

“Sure.”

Soon after David left, Jackson began his trailed investigation. He met Henry’s wife, a beautiful lady who wore a big sapphire, his lovely kids, relatives and Peterson, a handsome man who always wore a necktie. He collected circumstantial data, bank statements, laundry bills, but nothing proved the reason for his suicide.

“Sir, probably he incurred some huge financial loss?” Mary, the blonde assistant to Jackson suggested, “In his private hours Henry loved to play marathon poker games, suffused with cigarette smoke, running whisky…”

“His bank accounts are raining with dollars dear.”

“Oh! Then?”

Jackson was in deep thought, he knew he was definitely missing something, but what?

It was already midnight and Jackson was still clueless. Glued to his window he was quietly watching the shimmering waves of Pacific hitting its shores and regressing back in smooth foam, when suddenly, a thought impelled him to pick the note again, but this time he flipped it. The cartoon scribbled on backside kept Jackson engrossed for hours, and then, suddenly a smile appeared on his face, Jackson has found what he was desperately searching for… a clue.

He immediately called Perky Paul, the famous cartoonist and Dr. Samuel, a practicing physician.

Seven days later:

“Fernandez what man! Tomorrow we have to address the nation!” David stormed in the cabin nervously.

“If I say David, I know everything, but … don’t want to make it public!”

“What? Why not?”

“Because I am also a father David,” His eyes were clearly wet, “I know Henry made a tough choice that day.”

“Of killing himself?”

Jackson sighed. “David, have you ever thought over the cartoon he scribbled on his suicide note?”

“Oh! Its bogus.”

“No man.”

“Then?”

“Here, look at this magnified piece of Henry’s scribbling, cartoonist Paul worked it out for me.” Jackson leaned forward to roll out a huge chart sheet, “let’s analyze it!”




“A happy family picture in cartoon.” David commented reading the drawing.

“Yes, now look at the lady in the center, wearing a big blue stone!”

“It’s Jennifer, Henry’s wife.”

“And the man standing next to her?”

“Obviously it’s Henry,” David replied confidently. “Wow, what a necktie…”

“No David, it’s not him, but … Peterson.”

“What?”

“Henry never wore neckties, even his wardrobes vouched so, while Peterson even sleeps with a necktie.”

“Hell! That means Jennifer! But Fernandez, in that case, Henry could have easily walked out of his marriage and lived happily with his kids?”

“Henry was a hard smoker and alcoholic since his teenage years.”

“I know, it’s stated in his medical history.”

“And do you know that because of these addictions he became …”

“What?”

“Infertile.”

“What?” David drooped on the couch in shock, “But his kids?”

“Were not his. And sadly he never knew it … not before that day when he accidentally heard Peterson and Jennifer talking. Devastated, Henry rushed to his doctor, who confirmed it for him.”

“Man! He would have suddenly started hating his so loved wife!”

“No.”

“No?”

“Look at the scribbling again David, right outside the happy family picture Henry has penciled a small heart.”

“Yeah, a heart that lies in a pool of …”

“Tears… but the heart is not shown broken, which means Henry still loved his wife.”

“His suicide note doesn’t reflect his depressive state either David, but the severe pain he would have felt once he knew that his kids were not his. In just a second his world would have ended, and as Henry was, so loving, he never wanted to keep Peterson away from his own kids, that he should go through the same suffering … David, he did it for Peterson, it was a gift to a father from a father, on his birthday.”

“Oh man!” David felt choked. “How can we public all this?”

“Henry always lived a life of dignity. David it’s time, let’s make his death dignified as well.”

“How?”

“Allow me to tamper his suicide note.”

“No.”

“Here are the lines I have written in switch, I put it on you, read any of the note in public … Please David, let a father not be shamed in his grave.”

Next morning: Jackson addressed the nation, “Folks, I know you all are keen to hear the reason why Henry killed himself. Let me tell you a small story. There was father who dearly loved his kids. But when his kids grew up they started selling illegal weapons. The father cried to see how they were selling death for innocent people, but they didn’t bother. So one day, to make them feel the same pain, the father picked one gun and shot himself dead. In our case, Henry was the father who was repeatedly telling “do not think of suicide,” but did we listen? No. The numbers are worse this year than ever before, so he took this drastic step, to make you realize how much it hurts to the family when someone commits suicide. Folks, Henry died because he wanted us to live.”

Saying this Jackson nervously regressed, now it was David’s turn to speak. “Folks, now I will speak the last words of Henry,” Saying so he paused, but then read it loud, “It caused me immense pain to teach you this way my children … Stop killing yourself.”

His last words raved the nation, they cried, the pain finally taught them that ‘suicide’ is not an option.

Henry was a legend now.


Garima Srivastava is a commercial artist, graphic and web designer. She has done creative writing course from ‘Writers Bureau’ U.K. She lives in Cupertino, Calif.

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COVER STORY
Courting Nations:
Redrawing the Strategic Calculus

PM Modi has occupied global center stage as he continues to exalt India’s power-profile among the big economies, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj.


IMMIGRATION
Obama’s Plan for Reform:
What You Need to Know

President Obama announced his intent to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Elena Shore presents some questions raised by the ethnic media.


SOCIETY
The Kiss of Love Protests:
Indian Youth Kiss for Freedom

For those hitting middle-age, intimacy in public areas is either not priority or not possible, writes Siddharth Srivastava.


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: Courting Nations
INFRASTRUCTURE: Renewable Energy Push
OPINION: Designing Data Systems for Skilling India
GOVERNANCE: Tourist Visa on Arrival
ENVIRONMENT: India’s Cold Choking Smog
HEALTH CARE: For Dual Eligibles Healthcare Starts with the Blue Envelop
YOUTH: Washington Leadership Program
AUTO REVIEW: 2015 VW Passat SE
TRAVEL: Mission District Murals of San Francisco
RECIPE: Kashmiri Dum Aloo
EXPO: San Francisco Auto Show
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
FICTION: The Clue
HOROSCOPE: December

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